An Account of the Antiquities of the Indians
Chronicles of the New World Encounter
Paperback ISBN: 0822323478
Accompanying Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494 was a young Spanish friar named Ramón Pané. The friar’s assignment was to live among the “Indians” whom Columbus had “discovered” on the island of Hispaniola (today the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic), to learn their language, and to write a record of their lives and beliefs. While the culture of these indigenous people—who came to be known as the Taíno—is now extinct, the written record completed by Pané around 1498 has survived. This volume makes Pané’s landmark Account—the first book written in a European language on American soil—available in an annotated English edition. Edited by the noted Hispanist José Juan Arrom, Pané’s report is the only surviving direct source of information about the myths, ceremonies, and lives of the New World inhabitants whom Columbus first encountered. The friar’s text contains many linguistic and cultural observations, including descriptions of the Taíno people’s healing rituals and their beliefs about their souls after death. Pané provides the first known description of the use of the hallucinogen cohoba, and he recounts the use of idols in ritual ceremonies. The names, functions, and attributes of native gods; the mythological origin of the aboriginal people’s attitudes toward sex and gender; and their rich stories of creation are described as well.
Maroons Between Slavery and Freedom in Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone
Hardcover ISBN: 0300220464
The unique story of a small community of escaped slaves who revolted against the British government yet still managed to maneuver and survive against all odds. After being exiled from their native Jamaica in 1795, the Trelawney Town Maroons —a community of escaped slaves—endured in Nova Scotia and then in Sierra Leone. Drawing on a vast array of primary source material, Ruma Chopra traces their journey and transformation into refugees, empire builders—and sometimes slave catchers and slave owners. A gripping narrative that spans three distinct Transatlantic regions, this account of the Maroons’ unlikely survival reveals the complexities of the British antislavery era.
Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700
Hardcover ISBN: 1469638975
Pearls have enthralled global consumers since antiquity, and the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella explicitly charged Columbus with finding pearls, as well as gold and silver, when he sailed westward in 1492. American Baroquecharts Spain's exploitation of Caribbean pearl fisheries to trace the genesis of its maritime empire. In the 1500s, licit and illicit trade in the jewel gave rise to global networks, connecting the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean to the pearl-producing regions of the Chesapeake and northern Europe. Pearls—a unique source of wealth because of their renewable, fungible, and portable nature—defied easy categorization. Their value was highly subjective and determined more by the individuals, free and enslaved, who produced, carried, traded, wore, and painted them than by imperial decrees and tax-related assessments. The irregular baroque pearl, often transformed by the imagination of a skilled artisan into a fantastical jewel, embodied this subjective appeal. Warsh blends environmental, social, and cultural history to construct microhistories of peoples' wide-ranging engagement with this deceptively simple jewel. Pearls facilitated imperial fantasy and personal ambition, adorned the wardrobes of monarchs and financed their wars, and played a crucial part in the survival strategies of diverse people of humble means. These stories, taken together, uncover early modern conceptions of wealth, from the hardscrabble shores of Caribbean islands to the lavish rooms of Mediterranean palaces.
The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science
Paperback ISBN: 1469635607
"By examining U.S. biological fieldwork from the era of the Spanish-American War and the construction of the Panama Canal through the anticolonial movements of the 1960s and 1970s, Raby demonstrates how research in tropical biology developed in tandem with the southward expansion of U.S. empire and argues that both the key scientific concepts and the values embedded in the modern biodiversity discourse were developed in significant part through U.S. biologists' encounters with the Caribbean. In doing so,Raby brings to the forefront a ... neglected history of twentieth-century U.S. science and empire. While historians of science and environment have shown interest in the application of U.S. ecological and environmental ideas in the tropical world, this study demonstrates how that knowledge also flowed in the other direction"--
The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science
Hardcover ISBN: 1469635593
Biodiversity has been a key concept in international conservation since the 1980s, yet historians have paid little attention to its origins. Uncovering its roots in tropical fieldwork and the southward expansion of U.S. empire at the turn of the twentieth century, Megan Raby details how ecologists took advantage of growing U.S. landholdings in the circum-Caribbean by establishing permanent field stations for long-term, basic tropical research. From these outposts of U.S. science, a growing community of American "tropical biologists" developed both the key scientific concepts and the values embedded in the modern discourse of biodiversity. Considering U.S. biological fieldwork from the era of the Spanish-American War through the anticolonial movements of the 1960s and 1970s, this study combines the history of science, environmental history, and the history of U.S.–Caribbean and Latin American relations. In doing so, Raby sheds new light on the origins of contemporary scientific and environmentalist thought and brings to the forefront a surprisingly neglected history of twentieth-century U.S. science and empire.
Anne Bonny the Infamous Female Pirate
Paperback ISBN: 1627310452
The story of the most famous female pirate in history provides a remarkable personal odyssey from a time when women were almost powerless and at the lowest level of the social order on both sides of the Atlantic. This new biographical work fills considerable gaps in Anne Bonny’s life beyond her mythology to rescue an actual person for posterity. After turning her back on everything she knew growing up in South Carolina to find a sense of personal freedom, Anne Bonny sailed the Caribbean’s pristine waters during the Golden Age of Piracy in the early eighteenth century. Few accurate records exist about these law-breakers, whose lifestyles called for hanging. Fortunately, Anne Bonny was a notable exception to the rule, as she was caught off the Jamaican coast and tried by a court of law, whose records have fortunately survived. So, who was the real Anne Bonny? A heartless prostitute, a bloodthirsty psychopathic, or a compassionate woman of faith and courage? Such a fundamental question has not been adequately answered by historians for 300 years. It is now time to take a fresh look at the life of Anne Bonny to present a corrective view into not only her story but also the seldom explored, but incredibly rich, field of women’s history. The Anne Bonny mythology is today popularly told in Starz channel’s Black Sails and the video game Assassin's Creed.
Empire, Slavery, and the Great Port Royal Earthquake
Hardcover ISBN: 1594162875
Built on sugar, slaves, and piracy, Jamaica’s Port Royal was the jewel in England’s quest for empire until a devastating earthquake sank the city beneath the sea A haven for pirates and the center of the New World’s frenzied trade in slaves and sugar, Port Royal, Jamaica, was a notorious cutthroat settlement where enormous fortunes were gained for the fledgling English empire. But on June 7, 1692, it all came to a catastrophic end. Drawing on research carried out in Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States, Apocalypse 1692: Empire, Slavery, and the Great Port Royal Earthquake by Ben Hughes opens in a post–Glorious Revolution London where two Jamaica-bound voyages are due to depart. A seventy-strong fleet will escort the Earl of Inchiquin, the newly appointed governor, to his residence at Port Royal, while the Hannah, a slaver belonging to the Royal African Company, will sail south to pick up human cargo in West Africa before setting out across the Atlantic on the infamous Middle Passage. Utilizing little-known first-hand accounts and other primary sources, Apocalypse 1692 intertwines several related themes: the slave rebellion that led to the establishment of the first permanent free black communities in the New World; the raids launched between English Jamaica and Spanish Santo Domingo; and the bloody repulse of a full-blown French invasion of the island in an attempt to drive the English from the Caribbean. The book also features the most comprehensive account yet written of the massive earthquake and tsunami which struck Jamaica in 1692, resulting in the deaths of thousands, and sank a third of the city beneath the sea. From the misery of everyday life in the sugar plantations, to the ostentation and double-dealings of the plantocracy; from the adventures of former-pirates-turned-treasure-hunters to the debauchery of Port Royal, Apocalypse 1692 exposes the lives of the individuals who made late seventeenth-century Jamaica the most financially successful, brutal, and scandalously corrupt of all of England’s nascent American colonies.
Architecture and Empire in Jamaica
Hardcover ISBN: 0300211007
Through Creole houses and merchant stores to sugar fields and boiling houses, Jamaica played a leading role in the formation of both the early modern Atlantic world and the British Empire. Architecture and Empire in Jamaica offers the first scholarly analysis of Jamaican architecture in the long 18th century, spanning roughly from the Port Royal earthquake of 1692 to Emancipation in 1838. In this richly illustrated study, which includes hundreds of the author’s own photographs and drawings, Louis P. Nelson examines surviving buildings and archival records to write a social history of architecture. Nelson begins with an overview of the architecture of the West African slave trade then moves to chapters framed around types of buildings and landscapes, including the Jamaican plantation landscape and fortified houses to the architecture of free blacks. He concludes with a consideration of Jamaican architecture in Britain. By connecting the architecture of the Caribbean first to West Africa and then to Britain, Nelson traces the flow of capital and makes explicit the material, economic, and political networks around the Atlantic.
Bankers and Empire
How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean
Hardcover ISBN: 022645911x
From the end of the nineteenth century until the onset of the Great Depression, Wall Street embarked on a stunning, unprecedented, and often bloody period of international expansion in the Caribbean. The precursors to institutions like Citibank and JPMorgan Chase, as well as a host of long-gone and lesser-known financial entities, sought to push out their European rivals so that they could control banking, trade, and finance in the region. In the process, they not only trampled local sovereignty, grappled with domestic banking regulation, and backed US imperialism—but they set the model for bad behavior by banks, visible still today. In Bankers and Empire, Peter James Hudson tells the provocative story of this period, taking a close look at both the institutions and individuals who defined this era of American capitalism in the West Indies. Whether in Wall Street minstrel shows or in dubious practices across the Caribbean, the behavior of the banks was deeply conditioned by bankers’ racial views and prejudices. Drawing deeply on a broad range of sources, Hudson reveals that the banks’ experimental practices and projects in the Caribbean often led to embarrassing failure, and eventually literal erasure from the archives. Bankers and Empire is a groundbreaking book, one which will force readers to think anew about the relationship between capitalism and race.
The Big Truck That Went By
How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster
Hardcover ISBN: 023034187x
In the aftermath of the devastating 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, there was an outpouring of support and aid from countries around the world. Yet, two years after the quake, seemingly little has changed as the country continues to suffer from widespread poverty, crippled infrastructure, and a cholera epidemic. A common Haitian street slang refers to "the big truck," the half-hearted efforts by the "blancs" who arrive to help but wind up bypassing the victims. In The Big Truck That Went By, award-winning author Jonathan Katz ties together the two crises that continue to cripple Haiti: the aftermath of the earthquake and the endemic government corruption. In the course of bearing witness to the most devastating of tragedies in one of the world's most dysfunctional countries, Katz questions why with so much money being poured into the devastated nation it doesn't improve conditions for the people. He takes a hard look at the efforts of aid organizations, Haitian politics and mismanagement, and at the systemic problems of a country that has no reliable infrastructure. From Bill Clinton, Sean Penn, and former President Francois Duval, to ordinary Haitians who are trying to survive amid the rubble, we get an on the ground portrait of what life is like in the former pearl of the Caribbean. And we learn how the United Nations, in an effort to help, actually caused the first cholera epidemic in the country in over a century that killed over 7,500 people. Asking the hard questions about Western aid, this is a vividly told narrative of how the affluent nations can help the less fortunate in a smarter way.